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October 2001 Issue Highlights

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Environmental Groups Seek Off-Road Emissions Controls
ChoiceParts Files Antitrust Suit Against Automakers
SEMA to Launch Aftermarket Show in Japan
Tenneco Signs Joint Venture With Tokico
Les Schwab Named Top Tire Retailer


Environmental groups are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt new regulations that would subject off-road diesel-powered vehicles to the same emission and fuel standards as on-road vehicles.

The EPA, however, has informally suggested that the off-road diesel sulfur level would be set at 500 parts per million.

Lobbying for tougher off-road standards, the group Environmental Defense (ED) claims that documents it has obtained from EPA show cancer risks from diesel emissions are 10 times higher than cancer risks from all other hazardous air pollutants combined.

ED is pushing EPA to make diesel emissions reduction EPA’s top priority for new regulatory action.


ChoiceParts has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and The Ford Motor Company.

ChoiceParts is charging that the major automakers are preventing them from freely competing in the marketplace by restricting information about their parts, including identification numbering.

The company has filed for intervention against the automakers charging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

"We are simply asserting our right to compete in a fair and free marketplace," stated Chan Galbato, CEO of Choice Parts. "We are pursuing the right to utilize data about parts pricing and identification numbering that has been historically and consistently provided to other companies servicing the needs of car dealers.

We have a great business model and are ready to deliver our product to customers," Galbato continued. "The existing customer-installed base at ChoiceParts is 8,000 strong, comprised largely of retailers of GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler vehicles. We already have over 250 customers — automotive dealers — that are waiting for our latest product, and with equal access to industry data, ChoiceParts can help them and repair shops do business quickly and more efficiently."

The automakers are claiming that ChoiceParts is looking to profit from their proprietary information and they have no right to force them to release the information.


The Specialty Equipment Market Association has joined an alliance to create a new aftermarket trade show in Japan, the International Auto Aftermarket Expo 2002.

Diamond Bar-based SEMA is working with over 20 Japanese and international aftermarket associations to put on the Expo.

"Japan serves as a portal to the larger Pacific Rim market, which includes China and Southeast Asia," said Vic Wood, SEMA Pacific Rim regional director. "Here in Japan, consumers are well known for their propensity to spend money personalizing their vehicles and for their passion for motor sports. Because of that zest, this show will be an excellent venue not only for the broader Pacific Rim market but also for the Japanese domestic aftermarket companies."

The first International Auto Aftermarket Expo is schedule for Feb. 14-17, 2002 at the Makuhari Exhibition Center in Tokyo, Japan.


Tenneco Automotive has signed a deal to market, engineer, and manufacture the Tokico Ltd. brand of automotive shock absorbers and suspension struts for Japanese original equipment manufacturers.

The alliance covers vehicles that require Japan-based engineering and/or manufacturing support and include production outside of Japan.

"We’re pleased to join with Tokico in this strategic alliance that blends the complementary strengths of two leaders in ride-control engineering and technology to help meet the needs of the global automotive market," said Tim Donovan, managing director for Tenneco Automotive’s international group.

The strategic alliance will be directed by a global steering committee. Joint marketing and engineering teams will develop and market products on behalf of the alliance. As a part of the agreement, the two companies are pursuing the possibility of forming a manufacturing joint venture in Europe.

"We continue to look for opportunities to grow our business through strategic alliances," said Donovan. "This is a win-win situation for both companies as we will enhance our global engineering and manufacturing capabilities to serve our original equipment customers around the world that require Japan-based support."


Les Schwab Tire Centers has been ranked the best passenger-vehicle and light-truck tire retailer in terms of customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

The J.D. Power and Associates Retailer Customer Satisfaction 2000 Study, which is based on the responses of 7,400 vehicle owners across the United States, found that Les Schwab scored highest on the five components that make up the Retailer Satisfaction Index (RSI): people, service, facility, reputation and product selection.

"Obviously our customers are acknowledging our commitment to service and for that we want to say thank you," said Phil Wick, president of Les Schwab Tire Centers, announcing the ranking.

Les Schwab Tire Centers is one of the largest independent tire dealers in the country with over 300 stores in seven Western states.

Originally published in the October 2001 issue of Automotive Booster Magazine.
Copyright 2001 by KAL Publications Inc.

Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.